Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Future of Us - possibly the best SG50 product

2015 has been a year of unabashedly lavish indulgence for the Singaporean psyche. In stunningly predictable fashion, the populace made #SimiSaiAlsoSG50 a running joke before the first quarter of the year was over. With the year now drawing to quite the comfortable close, I'd say the Singaporean public, in particular those connected on the interwebs, is very much done with SG50. But ohhh dear friends, Singapore's not done with you just yet. Oh no, sir. No ma'am. December sees a final burst of activity to close the Golden Jubilee of our independence (if you've ever observed or analysed the pyrotechnic sequences of our National Day or New Year celebrations, you'll know what I mean).

Chief amongst these activities is the Future of Us exhibition, happening from 1 December 2015 till 8 March 2016 at Gardens by the Bay (just across from MBS, near the Meadow). According to its website description, "‘The Future of Us’ exhibition is an immersive and multi-sensory experience that offers a glimpse into the possibilities of how Singaporeans can live, work, play, care and learn in the future. ... It is the capstone event to round up Singapore’s SG50 year of celebrations." Tickets are free, but need to be pre-booked on the website, and collected before entry into the exhibition.

The Future of Us presents a forward-looking message of hope. Within its expansive (and logically, expensive) omnitheatrette, fancy projection mapping and literal sandcastles in the air of what the future could be, a singular message constantly rings clear.

The future may bring technology even sci-fi movies couldn't dream up. It may well hold possibilities that most of us would scoff at today. The future is as limitless as They say, but They always to neglect to mention one factor - you and I, the people piloting the future.

We who brought automobiles about. We who brought computers into our lives. We who have made smartphones as ubiquitous as day and night. Just as our evolving demands shape the development of technology and the world around us, so will our hopes, dreams and aspirations drive our future. We didn't become a global powerhouse within half-a-century by merely sitting about, so there's no reason why we should do so and expect to continue leading air-conditioned lives.

The future is up to us.

With all the hysteria of the year's celebrations, and no thanks to the countless brands who dived at this opportunity to show us just how bad their marketing can possibly get, such messages have sorely been lacking the government's overarching rhetoric. And that is not to say that there is no place for over-the-top celebrations and unbridled glee. We've come this far and we sure as hell deserve a party. Few other sovereign nations can claim as unique a milestone as its 50th year of independence, in such a time in the world's history as 2015. But even if it comes at the tail end of this year to remember, I'm glad to see that we have not neglected the biggest message that needs to be heard - that if not for its people, Singapore is nothing. Nothing at all.

The Future of Us, under the hand of creative director Gene Tan, has brought this message home like no amount of fireworks can.